Happy new year and very best wishes for 2010! Many thanks for your friendship and support this year!
Looking Forward: The year 2009 at SSS brought the introduction of Tabac Aurea and Lieu de Reves, as well as the reformulation of many of the older scents to incorporate the new low-atranol oakmoss and the new labdanum. Next up for the coming year is to finish the Encens Tranquille reformulation and get Ambre Noir back on the list, and then my goal is to introduce Bouquet Blanche before spring. In 2010 I’d also like to add more lotion scent options (each scent needs adjustments to be done in an oil format rather than alcohol, so that is why not all scents are currently offered in lotion). I have some wonderful new naturals that I’m anxious to work with, and I plan to do a couple special scents this year with those.
Encens Tranquille: I have a basic formula for the new Encens Tranquille that I like, with just a couple of slight variations on it (with and without elemi, and with zero vanilla versus a tiny touch of vanilla). I’m sending out testers today of three versions just to a couple people to help me narrow the choices down to one or two samples, and then I’ll send samples to the other testers I have promised. Notes are frankincense CO2 (lots!), sandalwood, myrrh, cedar, ambergris, patchouli, oakmoss, cistus, labdanum, orris, guaiacwood, angelica root, musk, vanilla.
The Next Week: Unfortunately, I have a sore throat today and seem to be coming down with a cold. I’ve not had a cold or flu bug in over 7 years, so this may hit me a bit hard. (I don’t have kids or a regular office job, so I don’t tend to be exposed to many bugs.) I can’t complain since I rarely get sick. My brother and family are coming today to stay at my Mom’s through the weekend and I hope to still enjoy a nice visit with them since I didn’t see them at Christmas. I suspect by tomorrow my nose won’t be able to sniff well enough to blend for a week, and that will slow me down on Ambre Noir. I do need time to do the end-of-year inventory and paperwork though, so I’ll focus on that for now instead. I started taking astragalus root extract yesterday to help boost my immune system and will see if I can recover quickly.
New Year’s Thoughts: In honor of the change from 2009 to 2010, here’s a link to an article in today’s online Examiner.com by the talented natural perfumer Ayala Sender with a nice summary of major trends in fragrance over the last decade. She discusses things you’ve probably noticed too, like market oversaturation, the growth of niche brands, and trends in scent types such as sweet gourmands, fruity florals, and the “new” chypre. She also mentions the growth of the natural perfumery sector, and I heartily agree that is a wonderful trend. I remain committed to using both naturals and synthetics to try to achieve the best of both worlds. I enjoy using many naturals in my formulas and specifically avoid some synthetics that just don’t appeal to me, such as the ozonic Calone and Helional, though in the best hands even these can be used to advantage (for example, Vetiver Extraordinaire has an ozone note that works thanks to the expertise of Dominique Ropion, and Un Matin d’Orage by Isabelle Doyen is a fascinating dewy white floral that makes good use of ozonic notes).
If I read Ayala correctly, she’s anticipating the divide between natural perfumes and synthetic perfumes to grow, and she’s right that the divide has already magnified in the mainstream market with few naturals left in many of those formulas. I’m still optimistic, however, that the indie and niche perfume sectors will keep alive the tradition of mixing naturals and synthetics to strive for the best combinations, and maybe with continued market pressure from the fragrance community the IFRA situation will improve. Time will tell. It seems ideal to have both options for people: all-naturals made by talented perfumers who are committed to the art, and blends by perfumers who choose to combine generous amounts of high-quality naturals with some equally carefully chosen synthetics.
Hope you have a fun New Year’s Eve, and again I send my thanks and very best wishes for 2010!